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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Who cares? Review: sweet and ordinary pop bedroom

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The Surrey singer-songwriter’s fourth album offers plenty of hooks, but lacks the depth to be truly memorable.

Since the 2015 release of his mixtape Cause you’ll never be free, Surrey, singer-songwriter Alexander O’Connor, aka Rex Orange County, has proven his ability to create succinct bedroom pop whose youthful optimism is so vibrant it sometimes borders on saccharine. That sweetness was the perfect accompaniment to American rapper Tyler’s searing introspection on Creator’s 2017 album. flower boy, on which O’Connor provided multiple features, but the British artist has since struggled to establish a sound of his own that can hold the listener’s attention through repeat play.

His last fourth album, Who cares?, find O’Connor something better. Reuniting with songwriter Benny Sings, who provided one of his most popular singles on 2017’s Loving Is Easy, the pair produce 11 ear-hooking tracks. Highlights include the hip-swaying funk of The Shade, a serious guest verse from Tyler on Open a Window, and the mournful strings of Amazing.

However, taken as a whole Who cares? it is so unvarying in its sentimental melodies that it begins to fade into the background, so inconspicuous that it becomes bland. Perhaps if O’Connor finds some darkness within his seriousness, there would be a depth worth returning to.

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